Atlanta Expands Protections for Those With a Criminal History

Atlanta, Georgia, has adopted an ordinance that amended its anti-discrimination laws. It provides new protections to individuals with a criminal history during employment. In addition, it expands the potential liability for employers that do violate the ordinance.

The new legislation took effect on October 26, 2022, despite not having the mayor’s signature. The new requirements could be beneficial if you have a criminal history. The law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants due to criminal history or gender identity. It also includes any of the characteristics protected by the previous anti-discrimination laws.

The amended law will make it illegal to discriminate against individuals in most cases. However, the ordinance adds two subsections to the city code of regulations. This code provides more specifics on how to use the law in hiring decisions, including certain exclusions from the law.

The ordinance requires employers to evaluate the following factors in consideration of the position’s responsibilities:

  • Whether or not the employee or applicant committed the offense.
  • The nature and severity of the offense.
  • The time that has passed since the offense.
  • The type of job the employee or applicant is applying for

This requirement means an employer cannot exclude you from consideration for a job solely because you have a criminal record. Instead, they must consider various factors and how relevant the offense is to the job in question.

There are exceptions to this law for employers required by state or federal law to exclude applicants with certain offenses or convictions. The law gives some examples, such as law enforcement positions or jobs involving working with children. However, the law should still considerably expand job opportunities for many people with criminal records.

The requirements in the new ordinance are quite similar to those of many other ban-the-box laws across the country. However, if you have a criminal record, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the law in your area. Doing so can ensure that any potential employers comply with its requirements.

While job hunting, it is best to remember that the law prohibits employers from discriminating in job ads. Besides jobs excluded from the new ordinance, employers cannot ban you from applying for employment due to criminal records.

One step you should take before applying for jobs is to run a self-background check. Running a background check will allow you to review what your potential employers will see. You will then have an opportunity to correct any errors and consider how to explain any unfavorable information in the background check.

Background checks don’t have to be complicated. Try running a Self Background Check today and give yourself a head start.


Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


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